Jubilanté Cutting, Founder of the Guyana Animation Network (GAN), was among four persons bestowed with the Mandela-Graça Machel Innovation Award, for her youth activism work in the area of digital and creative industries.
GAN, which has reportedly reached more than 3,500 youth since its establishment in 2016, links artists and animators with entrepreneurs and experts in the field.
The award, named after former South African President and human rights icon Nelson Mandela and his widow, humanitarian Graça Machel, recognises individuals for their work, which is assessed in the categories of Youth Activist, Individual Activist, Civil Society Organisation and Brave Philanthropy.
“As a young Guyanese woman, the stories of Nelson Mandela and Graça Machel that I read about in my history classes felt so real and yet so far away. I could never have imagined that I would one day receive an award named in honor of these heroes,” Cutting said of her achievement.
A law student, Cutting was selected out of 300 other nominees from across the globe for the Youth Activist award, and was honoured at a ceremony in Suva, Fiji, on December 7, when International Civil Society Week was being celebrated.
The Mandela-Graça award honours those with “remarkable bravery and innovation in creating social change and empowering future generations“, a release from the SPEAK! campaign said.
Cutting had explained that the inspiration for GAN came after experiencing the 2014 Animae Caribe Festival in Trinidad.
“I was amazed that such a festival existed in the region, and I wanted to help young people in my home country of Guyana to capitalise on the global opportunities in tech, animation and art” she related.
Apart from Cutting, other change makers honoured with the Mandela-Graça Machel Innovation Award were Khaled Elbalshy, Egyptian human rights defender, Journalist and Chief Editor of online newspaper Al Bedaiah, in the Individual Activist category; the Mentally Aware Nigeria Initiative (MANI) in the Civil Society Organisation category; and the Guerilla Foundation, a German-based organization, in the category of Brave Philanthropy.